Letter: Public warning for all seafarers!
Large quantities of the heavy bunker fuel from the ruptured Petrotrin Tank Farm have washed ashore and become lodged in the mangroves and on the beaches of Guiria, Venezuela. The majority of the Petrotrin oil from the ruptured Tank 70 is still at sea and will continue to move in a clockwise motion (known as a gyre), towards Trinidad’s northwestern peninsula (“Down the Islands”) when the tide rises.
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) warn all mariners and fisher folk who fish in the Gulf areas close to “Down the Islands” to be cautious and on the lookout for very large volumes of bunker type clumps of submerged oil (estimated to be in excess of 10,000 barrels in contrast to the mere 300 barrels which our misinformed government is claiming) and which we believe will be approaching from Venezuela. The Gulf of Paria discharges the majority of all water at low tide through the 2nd and 3rd “Bocas” on the northwest boundary of Trinidad’s territory.
This rupture from Tank 70 (Sunday, 23rd May 2017) has already claimed the lives of three Venezuelan nationals whose boat engines reportedly malfunctioned as a result of this thick fuel oil and who perished at sea after three days of drifting without food and water. These lives could have been saved if proper warnings had been issued by our government.
From our reports and video footage, the fuel oil is heavier and denser than water so it does not float on the surface; it is submerged below the surface of the water.
FFOS hereby warn all seafarers from in the Gulf of Paria to be on the lookout and switch off all boat engines when entering these oil contaminated waters.
Until Petrotrin and all the designated local authorities come together with a sense of urgency more lives and our health will continue to be put at avoidable risk.
If the boat engines failed as reported due to this latest oil spill, it means Petrotrin should be held liable for the loss of life of our Venezuelan brothers.
There are miles of thick clumps of oil washing ashore the beaches of Guiria, which has already killed over 50 marine turtles and unknown quantities of other living creatures.
FFOS’ sources in Venezuela have confirmed that over 50 large marine turtles have washed ashore dead since the heavy bunker fuel oil has contaminated Venezuela’s coastal communities.
Why isn’t the team of government and Petrotrin officials who are currently in Venezuela, reporting back to our nation on the extent of the regional disaster that ruptured Tank 70 has caused?
An example must be made of this delinquent state entity. Every three months Petrotrin risks human life and health because they are not functioning with accountability. Enough is enough!.
Unless negligent officers and companies are held accountable by OSHA and other authorities and agencies, they will continue to drown all of us in an endless sea of oil.
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS)